Archive for December, 2008

Jack of Diamonds: Papagaj and Rakas

cutoutOnce upon a perch, there was a parrot named Papagaj. Papagaj was smarter than parrots are today. He could understand concepts that escape even humans.

Papagaj’s cage had many toys; perches, ladders, bells, and more. But the best toy by far was a bare rectangle of steel that reflected the most pretty parrot that Papagaj had ever seen. Papagaj called the parrot Rakas, and they adored each other. He loved to learn words, to amaze Rakas. The lovely Rakas always repeated the same words back. Rakas was the perfect parrot.

But Papagaj never knew enough words to express how he really felt about Rakas. Every day he would learn more words, every day he would teach them to Rakas, but every day he grew more frustrated that the words were not adequate to convey the love he felt. Just as Papagaj whacked the bars of the cage wherever he flew, he was hampered by lack of language whenever he attempted to express a thought. As the days went by, the thoughts themselves became harder to remember.

At dawn one day, as Papagaj cooed sadly to Rakas, a spectacular creature appeared. The creature was small enough to fly between the bars of the cage, but had a powerful sparkle that extended as far as Papagaj’s most puffed-out feathers could. The two thus appeared as large as each other.

“You wish for more words” came the thought. Papagaj could not hear the creature speak, but felt the message, unobstructed by flawed language. “I am the Kaantaaja. I can give you a new life, with different words. Come with me.”

Papagaj had barely resolved to do so when the Kaantaaja’s glow engulfed the cage.


When Papagaj opened his eyes again, he was in a different cage. It was a bit bigger than the first one. His perches remained, but the other toys had changed. There were swings, and ropes, and other things he had never seen. But as before, the best toy was the mirror, now hanging from shiny chains. Papagaj rushed toward Rakas and began to speak with much excitement.

Papagaj found that he knew different words from before. He was ecstatic to have the chance to say things that he had never said before. But soon he discovered that the words he knew before were gone, and, as before, many other ideas that he had never had words for. He was just as restricted as before when trying to express his emotions.

That evening, the Kaantaaja came back. “Are you happy with your new language?” it asked.

The answer ‘no’ entered Papagaj’s head without much consideration.

“I can’t keep granting your wishes forever,” said the Kaantaaja. “But I will move you to a new cage.” And with that, the Kaantaaja’s radiance once again permeated the cage.


When the light dispersed, Papagaj was in a pretty silver cage, a little smaller than the first, stuffed with perches, ladders, bells and swings. Rakas was reflected in a gleaming metal rectangle, attached with a jingling chain.

Papagaj revelled in the new language he knew, and shared with Rakas many things which he hadn’t yet shared. But again he was restricted, again his limits made him sidestep the things that needed saying. By dusk, he was screeching in anger at his clumsiness.

The Kaantaaja reappeared as he shrieked. “Please, do not misuse my gift of language so! Do you want to speak, or don’t you?”

Papagaj’s shriek ended the instant Kaantaaja’s query entered his head. His answer was a clear yes, with the caveat that he needed a new language.

Immediately, Kaantaaja’s light filled the cage.


When the light died down, Papagaj was in his biggest cage yet. There were all sorts of toys and places to perch and climb. He flew around a little, enjoying the space, before locating his mirror. Rakas looked happier than before.

They chattered all day, about so many things which had escaped them before. But still Papagaj found that there was still one essential emotion that he could not express. And as the day turned into night, he found more and more ideas for which the words escaped him. When the light was dim enough that he could no longer see Rakas, he kept talking to himself in the dark, trying to find a way to say what he needed to tell her, so that he could say it the next day. He repeated important words to himself, hoping not to forget them if he were put in a new cage with a new language.

But all this effort only made him more aware of how hopeless his situation was, and the moment he realised that the new words could not possibly be sufficient, Kaantaaja appeared again.

“You want to move,” said Kaantaaja silently.

Papagaj’s defeated yes caused another burst of Kaantaaja’s light.


Papagaj could hardly swing without colliding with rusty bars or a tiny food bowl, which hung in front of him, partially hiding his mirror. Papagaj hit at his bowl, not hungry, just wanting to look at Rakas without such an inhibition. It was obvious that his words, in this stifling micro-aviary, could not possibly do.

Papagaj sat dumb and unmoving for many hours, just looking at his ravishing bird, who was looking at him quizzically. By and by, Papagaj had a go at talking. It was a slow and awkward walk around untold limitations, which Rakas could mimid without so much as trying. Irritation, both at his own laborious toil and at Rakas’s natural parroting, soon took control of him. It was usually so gratifying to tutor Rakas on words, to applaud Rakas for copying him without fault. But with such difficulty in finding his own words, Papagaj was unfit to instruct, or to bask in Rakas’s flair for what was taught. Papagaj soon found it hard not only to talk highly of, but also to think highly of Rakas.

At last, Kaantaaja’s arrival brought comfort, with a great flash of light.


When the light cleared, Papagaj was in a much larger cage. But he could see that it was not as large as one of his previous cages, and he knew that once again his new language would not be adequate. He swung in silence until the Kaantaaja came, hoping to return to the richest language he had known, which he was sure he would be satisfied with.

“Do you want to go back to where you were before?” asked the Kaantaaja.

“I do,” he answered.

Kaantaaja’s glow filled the cage once more.


And he was back. He wasn’t back where he wanted, but in the smaller, silver cage. He remembered what had happened the last time, and realised that if he tried talking, he’d just end up frustrated again. He sat all day in silence.

The Kaantaaja didn’t even ask what he wanted. It was unnecessary. The flash filled him with dread-tinged expectancy.


The new cage was bigger than the last, not the biggest he’d been in. It had all of the toys he had loved. Again, he knew new words. And he resolved to speak, no matter how ineffectively. Alas, he had nobody to speak to. There was no mirror in his new home.

“Oh, Rakas… what a fool I have been!” he called in vain from the centre of the cage. “I can express my love in so many ways already, why did I always need more? Now, the most important thing is missing! I don’t need words, all I need is…”

With that, the Kaantaaja appeared once again and spread its shimmering light.


“Raaaaaaarrrkas!” Papagaj’s awkward caw sparks a grand fracas as Papagaj darts at a sassafras branch at a park. Hawks and jackdaws swarm, and chant “Rakas, rakas, rakas!” as smart as watchstraps.

Papagaj’s rasp attracts a star as fast and as sharp as Rakas. Papagaj, rapt, starts a stark paragraph. Rakas gasps at Papagaj’s haphazard grammar, and scrams.

Angst saps Papagaj, and Papagaj’s smarts pass. Papagaj and a standard madam hatch spawn as daft as gnats, and want that; an awkward caw dwarfs a swan’s charm.

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Queen of Diamonds: Crossing Over

qdiamonssI look up to the sky in search of you,
to sunlight that you hide your soul above.
You’re on the other side, in heaven’s crown,
in happiness, but I, in longing, weep.
It’s lonely here relying on myself
to hug myself inside and think of you.
I’ll reach the other side and we will meet
Already I am dying for your touch.

The fates are working for us, I’ll be there.
I’m crossing over, sole to interrupt
the festive fuss to mark your change of state.
Around the Stanford torus that’s our world
I’ll take a pleasant stroll to be with you
before we both embark for wedded life.


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King of Diamonds: Anniversary cards

The following are variations of ‘Roses are red‘ based on the songs Jonathan Coulton wrote for his Thing a Week.

anniv1. See You All in Hell

Eyeballs are red,
water is blue.
Arm’s gone to hell
and so will you.

2. My Monkey

Monkey saw red,
monkey feels blue.
Bananas are yummy,
but monkey loves you.

3. W’s Duty

Let’s do our duty
to red, white, and blue.
If you do a duty
then I’ll do a poo.

4. Shop Vac

Picket fence white,
flower beds purple.
Shop vac sucks nicely,
just like the suburb’ll.

5. Baby Got Back

JC likes big butts,
as if he were black;
hope they were covered
before baby got back.

6. Someone is Crazy

Violets are red,
roses are blue.
That’s clearly crazy
and so are you.

7. Brand New Sucker

You’re not pure white,
and I’m not that green.
This can’t continue
the way that it’s been.

8. Sibling Rivalry

Jane’s wearing orange,
Joan’s wearing slate,
soon they’ll face off
and then separate.

9. The Town Crotch

Roses are red,
violets are blue.
She’s well deflowered,
but our love was true.

10. When I’m 25 or 64

25’s square,
64 cubic.
A mashup of both
released intertubic.

11. Podsafe Christmas Song

Some bite like redbacks
protecting their greenbacks.
Your present this Christmas
is taking the scene back.

12. Furry Old Lobster

Lobsters are red.
Once they were brown.
Don’t doubt this knowledge
when Hodgman’s around.

13. Drive

Fast cars red
Mine infrared
drive like sexy
not get dead

14. Flickr

Red Green and Blue,
or CMYK,
These pixels are free,

15. Resolutions

Reasoning’s solid,
guidance is clear.
These tips will bring you
An excellent year.

16. You Could Be Her

Pretzels are brown
beer is brown too.
Someone will love them,
will it be you?

17. I Will

Sugar- and heartbeats
covered in honey,
this song is sweet;
no need to be funny.

18. Dance, Soterios Johnson, Dance.

Strobe lights are green,
with reds and with blues.
When they turn off,
you’ll bring us the news.

19. So Far So Good

Roses are red,
(so far, so good)
didn’t quite last
as long as they could.

20. Curl

Dreaming of gold,
for red, white and blue,
wake from dream early,
make it come true.

21. Chiron Beta Prime

Bots’ eyes are red,
Soylent is green.
Our Christmas crackers
are full of protein.


Snow’s hooloovoo,
snowrocks are orange.
Our family is trapped

22. Take Care of Me

Roses are red,
water is blue.
Separate beside me
waiting for you.

23. A Talk With George

Stories aren’t read
of days people blew.
George made it count,
and so can you.

24. Don’t Talk to Strangers

Lavender’s purple,
mint flowers white.
Big city men
won’t treat you right.

25. Stroller Town

Stop when it’s red,
go when it’s green.
I’ve got the fastest
pram on the scene.

26. Re: Your Brains

Matters are grey,
Irises blue.
Rathole the eyes-scream,
a dinner is you.

27. Madelaine

Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
Which do you want?
It’s up to you.

28. When You Go

Roses are red
chrysanthemums white.
Flowers have withered
and nothing is right.

29. Code Monkey

Fritos are yellow
so’s Mountain Dew.
Code Monkey like them,
but mostly like you.

30. The Presidents

A whole lot of whites,
some red and some blue,
it’s time for a change
now Obama’s there too.

31. Just as Long as Me

Most lovers’ roses are red,
French tulips are coloured like crème.
I don’t really care who she is,
as long as she has a long stem.

32. Till the Money Comes

I’ll wait for our golden,
I’ll wait for our silver.
When she gets them both
I’ll no longer think ill of ‘er.

33. Tom Cruise Crazy

Violet are reds,
rose are blues.
Messed up and crazy,
it’s just like Tom Cruise.

34. Famous Blue Raincoat

Roses are red,
Raincoats are blue.
Rain-covered streets,
Jane covered you.

35. Soft Rocked By Me

Roses are yellow
wine is rosé.
Think you won’t need me?
No way, Jose.

36. Not About You

Roses are red,
violets are blue,
dumped on your doorstep
’cause they’re not for you.

37. Rock and Roll Boy

Young boys like toys,
old boys like drums.
Rock and roll boys
should love their mums.

38. Drinking With You

Let’s show our true colours
without much ado.
Beer would be sweet,
while drinking with you.

39. Pizza Day

Maybe you’re friendless,
maybe you’re blue.
Remember, it’s Friday,
there’s pizza for you!

40. Skymall

Roses are red,
violets are blue.
These gold-dipped roses
last longer than you!

41. Seahorse

She’s getting tail,
he’s getting screwed.
Since he’s a seahorse
he’s stuck with the brood.

42. Creepy Doll

Eye is ruined,
mouth is pretty.
You should have stayed
in your big city.

43. Under The Pines

Roses are red,
suet is white.
I hope you remember
our big hairy night.

44. Big Bad World One

Roses are red,
violets are blue.
I know you won’t like them.
Big bad world two.

45. Mr. Fancy Pants

Your pants are rainbows,
his pants are brown.
You know that your pants
never gonna let you down.

46. You Ruined Everything

Girls dress in pink,
Boys dress in blue.
Conceding defeat,
but all for you.

47. I’m Your Moon

Some friends are rare,
some moons are blue.
You’re here for me,
and I’m here for you.

48. The Big Boom

Something goes boom,
car alarms scream
all of these noises
are worse than they seem.

49. Make You Cry

Roses are red,
bought them for you.
Revenge is sweet:
I brought thorns too.

50. Pull the String

Roses are red,
violets are blue.
One single aphid
would eat through you.

51. Summer’s Over

Leaves turn to red,
trees’ turn to grieve,
watching them fall,
watching you leave.

52. We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions

Rose to the challenge,
vibe fifty-two.
Clap for JC
if he has rocked you.

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Clubs Word Cloud

Here is the Wordle word cloud for the clubs.


I would have changed the font to make it more like the other ones, but I liked the ways some of the words were grouped in this one. Write know. One dream now collider. Eventually came LEP time!

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Ace of Clubs: The Island


Aces of clubs featuring St. Lawrence Islands National Park, a man riding an Isländer horse, and Achill Island, County Mayo

She skipped from stone to stone across the stream,
each stepping stone subsiding with her stride.
No tears for trampled islands,
she was on the other side.

In comfort, and in loneliness, she mused
she’d never feel or be felt from outside.
Her brain a private island
she lived and thrived inside.

The world and she were sisters, though not fused,
new sustenance delivered on each tide.
She lived upon an island,
Necessities supplied.

Her needs well met, she soon began to dream
of wants her bounded home could not provide.
She took them from the island,
and then the island died.

Assured the world would match her self-esteem,
She headed out across the sea’s divide
She found another island,
and there she multiplied.

And one by one each island’s stocks were used,
they one by one became desertified.
The world was but an island,
and then the island died.

The death and desolation soon suffused
the living brain she looked out from inside.
She never left the island,
and then the island died.

She’d skipped from stone to stone across this dream,
each stepping stone subsiding in her stride.
No tears for trampled islands,
she was on the other side.

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Two of Clubs: Pretender

This was inspired by my lack of time and Jeff MacDougall’s experiment with FourTrack.

Here‘s a recording of it sung by my Mac.

It’s getting far too close to the end,
I’ve got to write my weekly thing,
but I used up half the weekend
trying to teach my Mac to sing.

So I’ll do a Jeff MacDougall,
and I’ll write a hasty song.
I’ll get all my notes from Google,
and they’ll probably sound all wrong.

But there’s not a thing that I own
that could run FourTrack
’cause I don’t have an iPhone,
but I have a Mac


and I’ve got a MIDI keyboard
that I don’t know how to play.
I don’t know what on Earth’s a C chord,
But I can code C anyway.

I can’t even read a stave, man,
and I don’t know how to sing.
I’m a two of clubs, a caveman
who’s pretending to be king.

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